As the gas and oil industry is very lucrative for the UK’s economy, there are a number of government-sponsored paths that can be followed to enable people to enter this field. There are many courses which will offer you a ‘golden hello’ to train with them because they are in demand sectors, but you can also be entitled to bursaries and even free training for those areas where uptake has dropped.
The government have devised a brochure to explain the options pertaining to training and education that help anybody gain access to the oil and gas industries, but there are two official lines of national training to consider. You could also visit the National Careers Service portal for more information on how to break into this industry.
Here we’ll be taking a look at some of the best ways to get your foot in the door of this global industry, and it’s never as hard as you think to get the job you desire on an oil rig.
An apprenticeship is the ideal solution for any school leaver that harbours no ambitions of attending higher education, but plans to enter the gas and oil industry. You may still need good grades at GCSE or A-level in basic subjects such as English and Mathematics.
Taking this path will enable you to work alongside skilled and experienced employees in your chosen vocation, gaining valuable experience while still earning a wage. This allows you to get the best of both worlds without having to commit to a full schedule immediately as an adult working week would entail.
An apprenticeship could last anything from one to five years (the longer you choose to remain within the program, the higher educational qualification equivalent you’ll earn – sticking around for five years could even place you in the same bracket as somebody with a Master’s degree).
If you decide to work on an offshore oil rig, you may qualify for a full-time role as a Roustabout or Driller within two years of beginning your apprenticeship.
A traineeship is a little different to an apprenticeship, but remains a government-sanctioned program. Traineeship is more akin to work experience, as you will not be paid a salary for your work during this process – although you will be entitled to make a claim for any expenses incurred, such as travel or sustenance.
It’s also important to note that the program will last for a maximum of six months however, and you will not hold any educational qualification by the end. If an apprenticeship is not an option for any reason, you may wish to consider a traineeship instead; it could still be a path into a career in to the gas and oil industries, albeit a slower one.
Private Courses and Training
Outside of the government, there are a number of different courses that can be considered for the appropriate skills to work offshore on an oil rig. Many educational establishments throughout the nation offer these, especially those based in nautical towns and cities. Scotland, in particular, has a thriving interest in offshore oil rig work – consider signing up for a course at the City of Glasgow College if you’re interested in furthering your education in this sector, or a course at the Aberdeen Drilling School for specialised training.
Whichever course you choose, ensure that it is approved by the appropriate governing body before starting, or you may end up wasting time and money for a qualification that doesn’t get you where you need to go.
Alternative Training Qualifications
There also a range of different survival training courses that you should also consider before seeking work offshore. A company may provide some of these as part of your employment package, but seeking them out yourself before applying for a job will always make you a more desirable candidate for a vacancy when up against tough competition.
Just a few of the most highly recognised courses available for working on an oil rig include:
- National Examinations Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) – although this is primarily a Health and Safety qualification used by inspectors, demonstrating an awareness of the importance of safety in such a dangerous working environment will never do you any harm.
- Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) – don’t even think about attempting to work offshore without this qualification; it’s illegal, for a start. Most employers will offer it as a part of your final training before assignment, but as above, showing that you know the industry and what is involved is never a bad thing.
- Further Offshore Emergency Training (FOET ) – a more advanced course that covers the above subjects, which largely revolve around dealing with a crisis aboard an oil such as a fire or other unforeseen disaster.
Of course, all the training the world cannot fully prepare you for life on an oil rig – that only comes with the experience gained from working in the industry for a prolonged period of time. Contracts are offered by employers for varying amounts of time, so only sign up for 6 months to 1 year initially until you get a feel of the work environment and decide whether it’s for you or not. Always try and get some first-hand experience of an oil rig wherever possible before committing to long-term studies.
All the same, there is never any harm in gaining as much information as you can before you set foot in your new working environment, so any or all of these courses could be the difference between your application being successful or passed over in favour of another candidate, especially if you lack direct workplace experience.